NEWS   SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2017   NEWS

Elon Musk Says He's 'Doing Good' On Trump's Advisory Council
Musk said via Twitter on Saturday -- one day after the council met with Trump in Washington -- that he's committed to pushing Trump on issues like immigration and climate change. Musk is one of 18 business leaders on the council. Some have faced backlash, including boycott threats, from anti-Trump activists. A Twitter user wrote to Musk: "Your continued defense of and collaboration with this administration is going to be damaging to you and your companies." Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was council member who got an earful, and on Thursday dropped out. CNN
VOA VIEW: Liberals learn to blackmail.

Conway Says She Misspoke On Iraqi Terrorists, Calls Some Critics ‘Haters’
Kellyanne Conway admits she made a mistake in talking about a Kentucky massacre that never took place. But that’s not all she has to say about it. In an interview airing Sunday on “Media Buzz,” President Trump’s counselor called some of her critics “haters” and said she corrected her error as soon as she learned about it. The misstatement has drawn substantial media attention, given Conway’s high profile. (The wide-ranging interview also covered the president’s leaked phone calls to foreign leaders, the Supreme Court nomination, the firing of the acting attorney general and plenty of questions about the coverage of the new administration.) Fox News

Federal Court Denies Trump Administration Request To Restore Travel Ban
A federal appeals court denied early Sunday the Justice Department's request for an immediate reinstatement of President Donald Trump's ban on accepting certain travelers and all refugees. The Trump administration appealed a temporary order restraining the ban nationwide, saying late Saturday night that the federal judge in Seattle overreached by "second-guessing" the president on a matter of national security. Now the higher court's denial of an immediate stay means the legal battles over the ban will continue for days at least. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco asked challengers of the ban respond to the appeal, and for the Justice Department to file a counter-response by Monday afternoon. Sun Sentinel
VOA VIEW: Trump will win at the end.

Obama's Last Money Shower For The UN: Some $9.2 Billion
In its last year in office, the Obama Administration showered at least some $9.2 billion on the United Nations and its sprawling array of organizations, according to a document recently posted on the State Department website. The total is gleaned from a document that summarizes U.S. government spending for international organizations, and is  about 20 per cent higher than the $7.7 billion figure  given out by State for 2010, before the Obama Administration abruptly quit providing any overall tally for its U.N. support.  The overall U.S. bill for international organizations of every stripe is just under $10.5 billion, meaning that U.N. organizations absorb about 88 per cent of such U.S. government spending. Fox News

Trump Just Got Checked And Balanced
The rapid halting of President Donald Trump's immigration order has given him his first exposure to the limits on his presidential power, a sharp awakening for a real estate mogul accustomed to the wide unilateral prerogative of a chief executive. With the order mired in legal challenge and travelers again weighed with uncertainty, Trump is facing his first run-in with a system of federal checks and balances. The fresh uncertainty over the order illustrated again the chaotic fallout of the new President's intent in rapidly fulfilling his most controversial campaign promises. CNN

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O'Reilly Told Trump That Putin Is A Killer. His Reply: 'You Think Our Country Is So Innocent?'
President Trump has long been effusive in his praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin, despite criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike. In an interview with Fox News's Bill O'Reilly, which will air ahead of the Super Bowl on Sunday, Trump doubled down on his "respect" for Putin — even in the face of accusations that Putin and his associates have murdered journalists and dissidents in Russia. "I do respect him. Well, I respect a lot of people, but that doesn't mean I'll get along with them," Trump told O'Reilly. O'Reilly pressed on, declaring to the president that "Putin is a killer." Unfazed, Trump didn't back away, but rather compared Putin's reputation for extrajudicial killings with the United States'. "There are a lot of killers. We have a lot of killers," Trump said. "Well, you think our country is so innocent?" Trump added that he thinks the United States is "better" getting along with Russia than not. Philadelphia Inquirer

Father Of Alleged Louvre Attacker Insists Son Is Innocent
The father of an Egyptian man accused of attacking French soldiers guarding Paris' Louvre museum says he trusts the French judiciary to find out the truth behind his son's alleged involvement. Reda Refaie al-Hamahmy tells The Associated Press late Saturday that his 28-year-old son Abdullah is not a terrorist and that he leads a normal life with his wife and infant son. Speaking at the family home in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura, north of Cairo, the father said "if he is convicted, God be with us. But if he is innocent, they owe us an apology." Philadelphia Inquirer

Ocean May One Day Swallow Trump’s ‘Winter White House’
President Trump’s “Winter White House” may one day be partially engulfed by the ocean. Climate scientists predict that his Mar-a-Lago property in Palm Beach, Fla., will be impacted by sea levels rising more than 6 feet by the end of the century, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “Even though he’s president, Mar-a-Lago is not invulnerable to sea level rise,” Palm Beach County Commissioner Steven Abrams told the Sun Sentinel. The luxe property sits between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, which experts say will become increasingly prone to coastal erosion and storm surge. Florida experts sent a letter to Trump, who has called climate change a “hoax,” warning him of the threat to his estate. NY Post

Australia's Leader Says Trump Isn't Chasing A Refugee Deal
Australia's prime minister on Sunday ruled out any deal to get the United States to honor an agreement to resettle hundreds of Muslim refugees that President Donald Trump has described as "dumb." Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull also dismissed a Nine Network television network journalist's suggestion that he should be offended that White House spokesman Sean Spicer has repeatedly called him "Trumbull" in press briefings. Turnbull said, "The important thing is results." Spicer says Trump has agreed to honor an Obama administration deal to resettle up to 1,250 asylum seekers rejected by Australia. Trump made the agreement during a conversation with Turnbull last weekend, but has since tweeted, "I will study this dumb deal!" Tampa Tribune

Turkish Police Detain Over 440 People In Anti-IS Operation
Turkey's anti-terrorism police have detained over 440 people for alleged links to the Islamic State group, the state-run agency reported Sunday. The Anadolu Agency said 60 IS suspects, the vast majority of them foreigners, were taken into custody early Sunday in the capital, Ankara. It said a total of 445 people were detained in simultaneous pre-dawn police operations that spanned several cities, including Istanbul and Gaziantep, near the border with Syria. The largest operation was in the southeast province of Sanliurfa, where police took into custody more than 100 suspects from multiple addresses and found materials relating to Islamic State militants. Tampa Tribune

After Judge Lifts Travel Ban, Trump Fumes, Vows To Act
U.S. President Donald Trump denounced a judge who lifted the travel ban he had imposed on citizens of seven mainly Muslim countries, vowing that his government would reinstate it as affected travelers scrambled to try to quickly enter the United States. Last weekend thousands of people who had tickets to travel or immigrate to the United States were stopped in their tracks by Trump's executive order to restrict entry for refugees and for people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, a move he said was needed to prevent attacks. Reuters
VOA VIEW: The judge made a serious mistake.

Trump's Pick For Army Secretary Drops Out
Vincent Viola, an Army veteran and founder of a high-speed trading firm nominated by U.S. President Donald Trump to be secretary of the Army, withdrew his name from consideration on Friday, a U.S. official said. "Secretary Mattis is disappointed but understands and respects Mr. Viola's decision," a Pentagon statement said, adding that Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis would recommend another candidate soon. The Military Times, which first reported the news, cited Viola's inability to get around Defense Department rules concerning his family businesses as the reason for withdrawing his name. Reuters

Analysis: Here’s Why Pakistan Finally Arrested Hafiz Saeed
Pakistan's decision this week to finally detain the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks signals a broader shift in the country's treatment of extremists.
Placing Hafiz Saeed under house arrest was driven in part by President Donald Trump's arrival on the world stage as well as pressure from China, according to military insiders and experts. "Recent indicators from our friends, the U.S. and China, are that he has to go," said a senior officer on the sidelines of a rare briefing held at the military's General Headquarters in Rawalpindi. This pronouncement came less than 24 hours after Monday's arrest of Saeed, an extremist who espouses "jihad," or holy war, with India. MSNBC

Democratic Leaders Outside Of The Beltway Emerge In Battle Against Trump
Democratic officials outside Washington sensed their base's hard turn against cooperating with President Donald Trump more quickly than their counterparts in Washington, leading the charge against the administration's policies in their cities and states. In a party with a thin bench, Trump is already proving to be an effective foil for outside-the-beltway Democrats who have distinguished themselves in recent days through opposition to the Republican's recent executive orders. MSNBC

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ATF Looks To Expand Federal Presence In Chicago Amid Violent Crime Surge
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is weighing plans to put additional agents to Chicago in an effort to curb the Windy City’s violent crime surge, a senior agent acknowledged Saturday. “ATF is exploring various options as we are committed to furthering law enforcement efforts in Chicago,” David Coulson, a senior agent at the ATF’s Chicago field office, told USA Today. “One of those options is to send additional agents to Chicago on permanent transfers,” he added, though no plans yet yet to be finalized, the newspaper reported. Washington Times

Obama Pentagon Official Says Anti-Trump Military Coup Now Possible
A former Defense Department official under the Obama administration has raised the specter of a military coup to remove President Donald Trump from power. In an editorial penned for Foreign Policy, senior Pentagon policy official Rosa Brooks publicly suggested a military insurrection against the Trump administration may be the only option to oust one of the most divisive presidents in American history. “Donald Trump’s first week as president has made it all too clear: Yes, he is as crazy as everyone feared,” Ms. Brooks wrote. “[One] possibility is one that until recently I would have said was unthinkable in the United States of America: a military coup, or at least a refusal by military leaders to obey certain orders.” Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Brooks should be fired and her statement should be watched - Obama would like to take over.

Mike Pence Warns Democrats Against Filibuster Of Supreme Court Pick
Vice President Mike Pence had a message for Senate Democrats threatening to filibuster President Trump’s Supreme Court pick, Judge Neil Gorsuch: Don’t do it. In remarks to the Federalist Society in Philadelphia Saturday, Pence warned that a filibuster of Gorsuch, which would require the Senate to muster a 60-vote threshold to confirm the nominee, would be “unwise.” “Several [senators] announced their opposition within minutes of his nomination and now they’re even threatening to use the filibuster procedure in the Senate to stop him,” Pence told the conservative audience members. “Make no mistake about it: This would be an unwise and unprecedented act.” CBS

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Anti-Protesters In London Call For U.K. To Withdraw State Visit Invitation
Thousands of protesters have marched on Parliament in London to demand that the British government withdraw its invitation to President Trump for a state visit. Criticism of Conservative British Prime Minister Theresa May has swelled since her Washington visit to meet Mr. Trump last month, when she confirmed plans for a return visit by Mr. Trump to Britain expected in the summer. Saturday’s demonstration in the British capital involved a two-mile march of several thousand people from the U.S. Embassy to the Houses of Parliament. Protesters chanted “Theresa May, shame on you!” CBS

New Documents Show Trump Retains Direct Tie To Businesses
New documents confirm that President Donald Trump retains a direct tie to his business interests through a revocable trust now being overseen by one of his adult sons and a longtime executive of the Trump Organization. Trump is the sole beneficiary of the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust, which is tied to his Social Security number as the taxpayer identification number, according to documents published online by the investigative nonprofit ProPublica. And Trump can revoke the trust, which was amended three days before his inauguration, at any time. ABC

Current, Former Officials Spar Over Approval Of Special Ops Raid In Yemen
A war of words broke out late Thursday between former Obama administration senior officials, the military and the Trump White House over who approved what, when and how a violent special operations raid in Yemen last weekend was planned, proposed and approved. Counterterrorism officials privy to the details of the raid's planning told ABC News the shadowy truth lies in between the competing claims of the Democratic and Republican administrations, which were each involved. The operation was planned for months and forces were positioned in waters off Yemen by the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command days before Trump was sworn in as the 45th president on Jan. 20, in anticipation of a quick approval by his White House for launching it on a moonless night a week later. ABC
VOA VIEW: All Obama appointees should not be trusted and fired.

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Trump Cites Friends To Say Banks Aren’t Making Loans. They Are.
As he prepared to sign orders designed to roll back bank regulations enacted to stop the next financial crisis, President Donald Trump said that the rules are stifling lending. “We expect to be cutting a lot out of Dodd-Frank, because frankly I have so many people, friends of mine, that have nice businesses and they can’t borrow money,” Trump said on Friday. “They just can’t get any money because the banks just won’t let them borrow because of the rules and regulations in Dodd-Frank." That may be the case for the president’s friends -- although Trump pal Carl Icahn seemed to have little trouble two weeks ago when he borrowed $1.2 billion -- but it’s not supported by data. Lending declined initially after 2008, when the entire banking industry was almost wiped out by the collapse of the U.S. housing market. But it’s grown steadily since then, expanding by 6 percent a year since 2013, far faster than the economy. Banks now have a record $9.1 trillion of loans outstanding. Bloomberg

Maserati Recalling Around 40,000 Vehicles On Risks Of Fires
Maserati North America Inc. is recalling at least 39,381 Quattroporte, Ghibli, and Levante vehicles after discovering two defects that could lead to fires. Adjusting the front seats could potentially lead to electrical shorts and fires in those vehicles from model years 2014 through 2017, according to documents filed with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The company is also recalling 10,879 Quattroporte and Ghibli vehicles for the 2014 and 2015 model years that may have fuel-line leaks. Bloomberg

Trump Throws Washington Into State Of Anxious Uncertainty
Two weeks into his presidency, Donald Trump has thrown Washington into a state of anxious uncertainty. Policy pronouncements sprout up from the White House in rapid succession. Some have far-reaching implications, most notably Trump's temporary refugee and immigration ban. Others disappear without explanation, including planned executive actions on cybersecurity and the president's demand for an investigation into unsubstantiated voter fraud. The day's agenda can quickly be overtaken by presidential tweets, which often start flashing on smartphones just as the nation's capital is waking up. Las Vegas Sun
VOA VIEW: Obama has many people is high and control positions.

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On Foreign Policy, Trump Still Speaking Campaign Language
For all the White House's early bravado, President Donald Trump has taken office with few concrete plans for how to make good on his pledge to unravel President Barack Obama's foreign policy and tackle some of the biggest national security challenges facing his administration. In calls with European leaders, Trump is said to have described his plans for confronting the Islamic State group with the same hard-charging but vague rhetoric he used in the campaign, promising strong, but unspecified action. Pressed privately by allies about how he plans to pursue a better relationship with Russia, Trump sticks with his public assertion that a better relationship with Moscow would be beneficial for the West. But he hasn't said how he plans to get there. Las Vegas Sun
VOA VIEW: Liberal media madness.

Uber Buying Plane Fare For Drivers Stranded By Trump Ban
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick says his company is buying plane tickets for stranded drivers now that a federal judge has put a hold on President Donald Trump's ban on travel to the United States by people from seven Muslim-majority countries. Kalanick tweeted Friday night that the head of litigation for the San Francisco-based ride-hailing company is "buying a whole bunch of airline tickets ASAP!" U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle put a nationwide hold Friday night on Trump's executive order. And the State Department said Saturday it has reinstated the visas of the thousands of travelers who were affected by the ban. Meanwhile, Trump tweeted Saturday that the judge's ruling "is ridiculous and will be overturned!" Newsday
VOA VIEW: It would be smart for all conservatives to stop doing business with Uber.

Excitement Builds In Houston In Preparation For Super Bowl LI
Massive crowds descended on downtown Houston as the city prepared to host Super Bowl LI between the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots. Thousands of people traveled from across the country to attend the big game at NRG Stadium, take part in NFL Experience activities and visit local attractions such as Discovery Green and the George R. Brown Convention Center, KHOU reported. Sabrina Youngblood and her twin sister Katrina Thompkins spent $2,000 to watch the Falcons play in Sunday's game. "This was on our bucket list," Youngblood said. While revelers are enjoying the game, UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters will monitor the skies above the Super Bowl stadium on Sunday, as air travel will be restricted by the Federal Aviation Administration in a 30-mile radius around NRG Stadium. On the ground, Houston police plan to have more hidden security to provide a less obvious presence than past Super Bowls. UPI News

U.S. Navy Deploys Missile Destroyer Off The Coast Of Yemen
U.S. Navy deployed a missile destroyer off the coast of Yemen to protect vessels passing through international waterways, the military said. A U.S. defense official said the USS Cole was sent to the southwestern coast of Yemen near the Bab al-Mandab Strait on Friday to conduct "presence operations" including escorting duties to help protect vessels passing through the strait, Voice of America reported. A plan was already in place to move a cruiser or destroyer into the area, but the Houthi suicide attack that killed two Saudi frigate crew members in the Red Sea on Monday accelerated the process, officials said. UPI News

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TRUMP RECOGNIZES PERILS OF SETTLER ENTERPRISE
Trump administration officials were caught off guard this week when they learned Israel was rolling out yet more plans for settlement construction in the West Bank, just as they were setting a date for Benjamin Netanyahu’s first official meeting with Donald Trump in Washington. Israel had not run its massive housing announcements by the White House – and the administration quickly came to believe they were boxing the new president in. Trump and his team were first starting to formulate his vision for peace in the region and America’s role in brokering it as it laid the groundwork for Netanyahu’s visit. Jerusalem Post
VOA VIEW: Israel has to do what is best for their country.

ISRAEL’S MEDITERRANEAN: A ‘WILD WEST,’ BUT WITH WAVES OF PROGRESS
Israel’s roughly 200-km. coastline provides the country with an essential outlet to the Mediterranean neighborhood and the world at large – a hub for commerce, communications, shipping, fishing and gas and oil exploration. While each of these industries fulfills critical national needs and enables Israel to secure its place as a local and global purveyor of energy, agriculture and innovation, the multitude of sectors dependent on the sea for survival are often at odds with each other, and experts fear that a sensitive marine environment may be the unseen victim of regulatory mismanagement. “The ecosystem is not managed as an ecosystem,” Tammy Ganot, an attorney for Adam Teva V’Din (Israel Union for Environmental Defense), told The Jerusalem Post in a recent interview. “We are in a hot mess basically. Jerusalem Post

Iran Is World's Biggest State Sponsor Of Terrorism, US Says
US Defence Secretary James Mattis has called Iran the world's "biggest state sponsor of terrorism", amid rising tensions between the two nations. His comments come a day after the Trump administration imposed new sanctions against Iran in response to a ballistic missile test. But Mr Mattis said he did not see any need to boost US troop numbers in the Middle East to deal with Iran. Iran has been carrying out military exercises in a show of defiance. BBC

Der Spiegel: Trump Beheading Cover Sparks Criticism
Germany's influential weekly news magazine Der Spiegel has come under fire for a cover image showing US President Donald Trump beheading the Statue of Liberty.
Some German newspapers criticised the cartoon, while the German vice-president of the European Parliament called it "tasteless". The cartoonist, Edel Rodriguez, said the image represented "the beheading of democracy". US-German relations have deteriorated under President Trump, who has criticised the policies of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. BBC

Pence Says Gorsuch Will Fill Supreme Court Seat 'One Way Or The Other'
Vice-President Mike Pence pledged on Saturday that supreme court nominee Neil Gorsuch will join the nation’s highest court “one way or the other”. Pence made the pledge during a speech in Philadelphia to the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group. His remarks echoed comments in which Donald Trump urged Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell to “go nuclear” and scrap longstanding rules requiring 60 votes if Democrats move to block Gorsuch. A least one Democratic senator has vowed to try to block Gorsuch’s nomination as retaliation for McConnell’s decision to block any nominee put forward by Barack Obama, for months, until after the 8 November election. For more than 300 days, the opening created by the February 2016 death of justice Antonin Scalia has remained vacant. Guardian

Hemp: How One Little Plant Could Boost America's Economy
Imagine a plant that cuts cholesterol, reduces our exposure to toxins, can ease joint inflammation, proves more durable than concrete, and can provide the economy with much-needed jobs for farmers and manufacturers. This wonder of the world exists – it’s hemp. But it is illegal to grow in America. Hemp and marijuana both are cannabis plants – in fact, both are cannabis sativa. Hemp, however, contains virtually no THC (the psychoactive ingredient in pot), so smoking it will not get you stoned. Yet industrial hemp has endured 80 years of purgatory and prohibition at the hands of the government. Guardian

US Says Iran 'World's Biggest State Sponsor Terrorism' As War Of Words Escalates
The United States defence secretary has accused Iran of being the “world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism”, capping off a week of rising tensions between the two countries. James Mattis warned that the world would not ignore Iranian activities, which he said were helping destabilise the entire Middle East. "We have seen their [Iran's] misconduct, their misbehaviour, from Lebanon and Syria to Bahrain and to Yemen and it's got to be addressed at some point," he told reporters on Saturday in Tokyo, where he is on his first official foreign visit. “I think it is wise to make certain that Iran recognises that what it is doing is getting the attention of a lot of people.” Telegraph

Ivanka Trump And Jared Kushner 'Fought Against LGBT Rights Executive Order - But Their Calming Influence On Donald Trump Is Waning'
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner successfully persuaded Donald Trump to scrap executive orders that would overturn LGBT rights - but the couple's calming influence on the president is starting to wane, it has been reported. A "brewing power struggle" has emerged between Mr Kushner, the son-in-law who can keep the president "on message", and Steve Bannon, the ultra-conservative former businessman, described as the power behind the throne. A draft executive order on LGBT rights, aimed at rolling back Barack Obama's progressive reforms, was circulated last week. It outlined a weakening of protections designed to shield LGBT individuals from discrimination. Telegraph

Refugees Fleeing Danger Are ‘Not Dangerous Themselves’ – UN Agency Chief
The head of the United Nations refugee agency today warned developed countries against politicizing the issue of refugees, stressing that the move risked undermining the principle of international solidarity with those fleeing war and persecution. “These are people that flee from danger, they’re not dangerous themselves,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi told reporters in Lebanon’s capital, Beirut following a four-day visit to Syria, where he witnessed first-hand the massive destruction caused by nearly six years of conflict. UN News

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